Afternoon tea with my friend Geneviève
If I was in England visiting my friend Geneviève like I keep saying I’ll do (maybe next year!), I know she would take me to The Berkeley for tea.
Geneviève is the best friend and tour guide you could wish for: she’s always ready to spring for a late-night shopping spree on the high streets, a theatre show in Piccadilly Circus or a stroll wherever you fancy. She’s fabulously well-dressed in designer labels, has a quickness of mind and a keen sense of humour, and seems to have boundless energy. She has a heart of gold and is a friend to everyone- Geneviève is truly a special gal. For all the love and kindness in her heart, you wouldn’t guess that she’s a hard core fashionista with a well-fed addiction to Chanel.
It’s always amazing to me that she’s able to live such a busy, beautiful life that includes jet-setting to India for sari shopping all the while completing her medical specialization. Yes, Geneviève is living the life and she’s a doctor. And and and. She’s one of the coolest people I know.
Last week brought this email from Geneviève: “No time to chat but look at this xx” in the subject line. And then the URL to The Berkeley tea experience of my dreams.
As an honorary Brit with a mild fetishist interest in Jubilee tea cups and royal couple engagement mugs (thanks Geneviève for sending me these!), I couldn’t resist the idea of fashion and tea.
The Berkeley afternoon tea combines the best of the Brit tradition with high fashion taste: “Prêt-à-Portea” delicacies that reflect catwalk looks around the world. The assortment gets a makeover every six months along with new fashion collections and currently features Dolce & Gabbana, Jason Wu and Valentino. Served in the delightfully named Caramel Room from 1pm to 6pm, tea at the Berkeley is obviously on our to-do list.
Here’s a sneak peek at the fashionista-inspired “cakes and fancies” on the menu:
- Gucci art deco Grand Marnier and dark Valrhona chocolate mousse embellished with golden beads
- Mulberry white chocolate crème de menthe and raspberry mousse topped with a lemon meringue
- Fendi nautical red and white striped vanilla cake filled with fraise des bois cremeux accessorized with oversized yellow button
- Christian Louboutin must have neon yellow high heeled chocolate biscuit with signature red sole
- Jason Wu romantic cherry bavarois and coconut cream topped with playful pink skirt and biscuit heel
- Miu Miu 1950’s inspired vanilla bikini biscuit with red hot icing and playful white bow
- Valentino romantic peach cake dress with light pink champagne jelly and edible flower
- Dolce & Gabbana light blue Sicilian blueberry sponge cake wicker basket wrapped in chocolate
- Michael Kors safari opera cake with dark chocolate and mocha filling topped with signature leopard print
Isn’t this unbelievably impressive and fun? And they’re all served on fine bone china by either British designer Paul Smith or designer and supplier to the royals, Thomas Goode.
As for the teas and herbal infusions, they sound just perfect:
- Loose leaf English breakfast, Earl Grey, Ceylon, Lapsang Souchong, Organic Assam, Vanilla, Pear Caramel, White Peony
- Herbal infusions Camomile Citron, Wild Blossom and Berries, Chocolate Mint Truffle, African Amber
- ‘Well Being’ fruit infusions Funky Fruits, Posh Pomelo & Melon, Gorgeous Ginger, Luscious Lemon and Amazing Apple
- Exclusive Signature infusion “Caramel Indulgence”
You can also order taster spoons and skewers of the fancies, and The Berkeley offers delivery for their menu in case you’d prefer to entertain in your sun room.
And what’s more outstanding is that Prêt-à-Portea is priced at 39GBP, which is like free! Up the ante with a glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne for 10GBP more, or the Brut for a total of a mere 55GBP. Why am I here? Why am not on the first flight to London right now!?